Unnormal Normalcy

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Short Story Saturday

First, I wish I’d get less SPAM COMMENTS. It’s really annoying.

Anyway, this SST is different. Today I have a short story from The Angel. This is something I wrote recently, because I kept thinking about what happened the night Brian did all his mean things. I think a lot about the side characters from The Angel and what they were doing at certain times. This is one of those times.

Warning: This scene contains vulgar language, sexual language, gore, and spoilers if you haven’t read the book. Thus, read at your own risk and only if you feel comfortable.

“So when did you guys decide you wanted kids?” Cori asked, leaning back in his chair with his beer.

Shane shrugged. “I always wanted to be a dad,” he replied.

Beside him, Ryle nodded. “Me too. You don’t want kids?”

Jeff shrugged. “We both work in schools, I think we come home and need a break from kids.”

“Plus, we don’t want to risk ruining our sex lives,” Cori added with a sly glance at Jeff.

Shane laughed and looked at Ryle, who grinned at him. “You just wait for them to go to bed. Kids understand closed doors, anyway.”

Jeff tipped his beer to Ryle and winked. “I’d remind him of those words when you get home.”

“Oh, I will,” Ryle assured him, tipping his drink right back. Then he took a sip, and quickly put his drink down to fish his cell phone out of his pocket. “Speaking of kids,” he said, looking at the number on the front screen.

Shane felt a small seed of unease plant itself in his stomach. He gave his husband a curious look, but Ryle merely shrugged and got up from his chair. Shane watched him weave his way to the door of the bar and answer the call as he stepped outside onto the covered entryway, where rain was dripping down the sides from the roof.

Despite his concern, Shane did his best to carry on talking with their friends while he waited to find out what was going on. He found that his worry stopped him from eating their bowl of chips or even finishing his first drink of the night. It was probably nothing, he tried to tell himself. Maybe they wanted to know how to make some snack or had blown a circuit – he knew the wiring in the kitchen was faulty somewhere, and on the list of things to fix still. Thank God the house was only a slight fixer-upper.

But when Ryle returned some time later, the look on his face filled him with dread.

“We have to go,” Ryle stated. Even in the dim bar he looked pale. “Seth went to Eiri’s. I couldn’t tell him no. She thinks Brian is outside. I called the police for them, but we need to go.”

Shane was already on his feet and digging his keys from his pocket. “Shit.” He turned to Cori and Jeff, who both looked concerned. They knew what Brian was like, from experience. “I’m sor-”

Jeff grabbed his wrist, cutting him off. “We understand. Go look after your son.”

Shane nodded. “Thank you.”

They went as quickly as possible to the car, running through the pouring rain. It took him a minute to remember how to get to Eirianna’s house, but as soon as he did he began driving as fast as he dared in order to get there.

They saw the flashing lights as soon as they turned the last corner, and Shane stopped the car behind two police cars. He almost couldn’t process what he was seeing. There was one teenaged boy standing in the driveway. In his hand he held a gun, which he seemed to slowly raise and point toward the police cars. There were four officers, yelling at him to drop the weapon, but he didn’t. He took one step closer, and all four officers fired.

But Shane’s attention was riveted on the form of the boy laying on the driveway behind where Brian had stood. He knew it was Seth.

An officer was approaching them, the others running to the bodies on the driveway. Shane got out of the car with Ryle, both of them fighting the need to run to their son.

“Sir, this is a crime scene,” the officer was saying as he drew closer. “I need you to -”

“Please,” Ryle interrupted. “Our son is over there!”

“He came over because his girlfriend said a guy was outside her house,” Shane explained.

The officer looked grim. “I understand. I have kids. But I can’t just -”

But Ryle had already forced his way past. Shane offered a brief apology, then ran after him. He was terrified of what they would find, but an officer was kneeling beside Seth, who had been rolled onto his back. He took that as a positive sign, since no one was near Brian.

The officer, a woman, looked up when Ryle knelt next to Seth. Shane instantly realized she was the same woman who had been at their house the day the church missionary had tried to put a sign in their lawn. She seemed to recognize them, too.

“I don’t know how he’s going to be,” she told them immediately. “It depends on how soon the paramedics get here. He’s unconscious. He’s lost a lot of blood. Gunshot wound,” she added, nodding to the bloodstained and rain soaked wad of cloth she was pressing to his shoulder.

Ryle was shaking, holding Seth’s limp hand. Shane knelt beside him, struggling to accept what was happening. “Can we ride with him?” he asked.

“There’s usually only room for one,” she answered.

Another officer suddenly appeared behind her. “Officer Roberts, we need you – who…?”

“Victim’s parents,” she stated.

“All right, well, we need you. There’s a rape vic in the house.”

Oh God. Shane looked up at the other officer. “Sir, it might help to see me, too.”

The man shook his head. “We try not to surround these victims with men so soon after the attack.”

“I understand,” Shane replied. “She knows us, though.” He threw a meaningful look between himself and Ryle. “If she doesn’t respond to me well, I can leave her with Officer Roberts.”

The officer thought a moment, then nodded. “Very well. Both of you, then.”

“I can stay here,” Ryle told Shane quietly, then looked at the female officer. “Show me how to take over for you.”

She nodded and he moved to her side of Seth. Shane watched as she showed him where and how hard to press on the wound. Ryle did as instructed and nodded to Shane. Shane squeezed his shoulder and joined Officer Roberts in following the officer who had come for her.

They followed his directions and found Eirianna in her upstairs bedroom. She was sitting on the floor, shaking and crying. Her clothing was torn and her pants were bloody. Seeing her like this after seeing his own son unconscious and bleeding in the rain, Shane was filled with more blood-boiling rage than he had ever thought he could feel.

The officer had asked Shane for the girl’s name, and she spoke to her quietly as she walked into the brightly-lit room. Shane followed, biting back his anger. He had to keep his head for a little while longer, long enough to see both teens to the hospital. Then he’d let himself have some release. For now, people needed him.

“Eiri,” he said gently, kneeling next to Officer Roberts, beside the shaking girl.

She looked up at him, and threw her arms around his neck, sobbing uncontrollably. “I didn’t mean for Seth to get hurt!” she wailed. “I’m so sorry. I’m sorry I’m sorry I’m sorry.”

Shane held her. “Shhh, listen, he might be okay. But we need to take care of you, too.”

“The paramedics are almost here,” Officer Roberts assured them. “I can hear the sirens. They are going to take Seth to the hospital and do everything they can for him.”

“I heard… gunshots.”

“He shot Seth in the shoulder,” Shane explained. “The police killed Brian when he turned the gun on them.”

“Eiri, can you tell us what happened?” Officer Roberts asked.

She pulled back from Shane and hugged herself. Shane moved to put a comforting hand on her shoulder. “He came in as I hung up the phone. I had seen him outside and I asked Seth to come over. I was scared. All the doors were locked… I heard him break in the front door. I hid in my closet with the door closed… I tried to hold it shut, but he was too strong… He pulled me out and threw me down…” She sobbed and shook violently. “I told him to get off me… He held me down and ripped my clothes… He started grabbing my chest… Then he pulled my pants down… and his… I kept telling him to stop but he wouldn’t! I kept trying to fight him but he was too strong!”

“Did he say anything to you?” Officer Roberts asked.

“’I’m going to… fuck your brains out… you worthless cunt… Bet your boyfriend only… does your ass… I’ll make you a… a whore’. When he was done he hit me, and I think I blacked out. I woke up to yelling and gunshots…” She shook with sobs again.

Shane hugged her, disgusted with everything he’d heard.

“We’re going to get you to the hospital,” Officer Roberts assured her. “We’re going to take care of you. He won’t hurt you again.”

“Can I… change?”

The officer nodded. “I’ll go get an evidence bag for your clothes, but I can’t let you clean up at all. The hospital has to see all the evidence, and prove it was Brian without a doubt. I know it was him, but the police need DNA evidence to close the case.”

Eirianna nodded mutely and Shane stopped the woman as she got up to leave. “Tell my husband to go with Seth. I’ll take her to the hospital.”

Officer Roberts nodded. “I’ll escort you.”

Shane tried not to think about Seth as he helped Eirianna change into clean clothes, dropping the tattered and stained clothing into a paper bag marked with an evidence tag. He and Officer Roberts then helped her out to the car. The rain had eased up to a trickle, having washed away the blood on the pavement. The ambulance had already left with Seth, but Brian’s body lay covered by a white tarp. Eiranna flinched when she saw this, but Shane kept her walking. More officers had arrived on the scene as well.

They followed Officer Roberts’ patrol car to the hospital, doing fifteen over behind the flashing lights. Eirianna was mostly silent, but Shane didn’t blame her. The one time she did speak, it was to apologize again for getting Seth injured.

“Eiri, he loves you,” Shane replied. “There’s no one to blame but Brian.” He reached over and squeezed her hand. “We would never blame you.”

At this, she began to cry once more, and Shane suddenly realized he hadn’t thought to check on his own daughter. He pulled his phone out of his pocket and hit the speed-dial for his parents. He had to call twice before his mother answered.

“I’m sorry to wake you, Mom.”

“It’s all right. What’s wrong?”

“There’s been… uh… a confrontation between Seth and someone from school. I need you to do me a favor and check on Jessa. She’s at home.”

“God, Shane, what happened?”

Shane glanced over at Eiranna. She was staring out the window. “Seth was trying to protect Eiri from this nasty bully at school. I don’t have a lot of details. The police were involved. The guy pulled suicide by cop. Seth is at the hospital. I’m taking Eiri there now. I need someone to check in on Jessa. I promise I will give you more details when I get them.”

“I will head over. Call your house phone when you know more.”

Shane said goodbye as they pulled into the parking lot and were led by Officer Roberts to a parking place. Eirianna looked at him with frightened eyes. “Don’t leave me.”

Shane nodded and squeezed her hand again. “As long as they let me stay with you, I will be here.”

“Thank you.”

Shane gave her hand one more squeeze, then turned the car off as he opened his door. He went to her and helped her out of the car, and they followed Officer Roberts into the emergency room.

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September 10, 2011 - Posted by | Short Story Saturday, The Angel

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